KXP come from Finland, or space. They have some kind of awesome fucked up disco groove going on that could originate from either. For this Friday night billing, the Southern Gothic weekender at the Crane Lane moves away from its staples of blues, punk and anti-folk and deeper into the recesses of intense trancey psych.
Doors are at an unfeasibly early 7pm, and over an hour later we get an enjoyable if by-numbers shoegaze set courtesy of Cambridge opening act Carousels, complete with whispery vocals and stop-start fuzz-outs from duelling Fenders. Following on from this (and much nearer a more Crane Lane appropriate time of 10pm), KXP start to shuffle on and sort their kit out, mainly drumkit, synths + sampler, and a nasty looking headless bass guitar, which looks like something either from the future or the 80s. I’ll go for the future in this case.
When KXP take the stage proper, they get us going with a slow burning motorik beat, straight from the Neu! playbook, but with haunted lyrics howling over it. It’s satisfyingly long and creates space for the crowd to be held in their locked groove. For the second song they change the tempo upwards, with frontman Timo Kaukolampi bopping and headbanging along – they’re creating some kind of warped house tune and we’re getting in the region of 160 BPM all of a sudden.. His green hooded cape flapping loosely, Kaukolampi (the K in KXP)’s wonderful tuneless hollering in place of singing continues, akin to PiL era Lydon.
Third song in and behind the wounded howl we get drummer Anssi bringing the pace back down to more a pounding Battles thump, but giving a rare nod to his free-jazz credentials at the end with a wild, almost tribal sounding flourish. The track then changes, developing into a choppy beat speeding up into something like John Bender would have come up if he were stuck in the middle of Detroit techno. The shuddering bass – from both the synth and the guitar – is awesome. Tuomo Puranen (the P) shakes his lank bleached looking hair, plucks at the bass strings and jerks every time like a man surprised that he gets the same repetitive note. Whoever mans the drums is apparently the X, and that’s usually Anssi Nykanen who is hitting just one cymbal now what seems like 1000 times in a row, as Timo explores his sampler using his face as a third hand. In the end the mic stand is hoisted as high as it will go, and he sets the mic swinging while singing up into it as it flies past. Limbs throughout the crowd are wobbling, with greater intensity the nearer they are to the stage. KXP’s willingness to bring the tempo right up resonates with the Cork crowd, we’re always ready to pound one fist in the air and woop to the beat, and add a dark twisted undertone and we’re all set. After a final upbeat encore, and almost 18 months on from their debut Cork performance, KXP leave us again, if anything more impressed than last time. I recommend to pick up the LP, and the EP. Both are great, although neither are a patch on the live show.